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L.A. County Antibody Rate in Mid-April: 4% to 5%
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The Stanford team of Bendavid and Bhattacharya that was arguing back in March that we were closer to herd immunity than was thought have published in the Journal of the American Medical Association their Los Angeles County study of antibody rates as of April 10-11 from a semi-random study.

May 18, 2020
Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2–Specific Antibodies Among Adults in Los Angeles County, California, on April 10-11, 2020
Neeraj Sood; Paul Simon; Peggy Ebner; Daniel Eichner, Jeffrey Reynolds; Eran Bendavid; Jay Bhattacharya
JAMA. Published online May 18, 2020.

… We conducted serologic tests in a community sample to estimate cumulative incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, as serologic tests identify both active and past infections. …

Results
Of 1952 individuals invited to participate in antibody testing, 1702 (87.2%) provided consent and 865 (50.9%) were tested. Those not tested could not schedule testing or did not appear. Two test results were inconclusive due to faulty test kits and were removed from the analysis sample. Of 863 adults included, 60% were women, 55% were aged 35 to 54 years old, 58% were white, and 43% had yearly household incomes greater than $100 000. Thirteen percent reported fever with cough, 9% fever with shortness of breath, and 6% loss of smell or taste (Table).

Thirty-five individuals (4.06% [exact binomial CI, 2.84%-5.60%]) tested positive. The fraction that tested positive varied by race/ethnicity, sex, and income (Table). The weighted proportion of participants who tested positive was 4.31% (bootstrap CI, 2.59%-6.24%). After adjusting for test sensitivity and specificity, the unweighted and weighted prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 4.34% (bootstrap CI, 2.76%-6.07%) and 4.65% (bootstrap CI, 2.52%-7.07%), respectively.

So, I would summarize that as being 4% to 5% tested positive

Discussion
In this community seroprevalence study in Los Angeles County, the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 was 4.65%. The estimate implies that approximately 367 000 adults had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which is substantially greater than the 8430 cumulative number of confirmed infections in the county on April 10.3 Therefore, fatality rates based on confirmed cases may be higher than rates based on number of infections.

As of today, 5+ weeks later, the official CV death count for Los Angeles County is 1,840. So 1,840 deaths divided by 367,000 infections would be an Infection Fatality Rate of 0.5% in L.A. County. However, the lag of almost 40 days since testing means that some of the dead as of today were infected after testing. So 0.50% would represent an upward bound on IFR and the apples to apples comparison to other IFR estimates would be somewhat lower. As of 28 days after testing (a more typical lag), the IFR might have been in the 0.35% to 0.40% range.

So L.A. County’s IFR is a little lower than estimates from antibody tests for most other localities I’ve posted, which have typically been between 0.5% and 1.1%.

Hospitals never came close to being overwhelmed in Los Angeles County. And the peak in deaths, in the second half of April, came somewhat later than in other places like NYC, so L.A. doctors had a chance to learn from the struggles of other regions about what not to do. Hopefully, Infection Fatality Rates will fall over time as medical science progresses. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any studies yet trying to assess whether that is happening or not.

In addition, contact tracing methods to limit the spread of infection will face considerable challenges.

This study has limitations. Selection bias is likely. The estimated prevalence may be biased due to nonresponse or that symptomatic persons may have been more likely to participate. Prevalence estimates could change with new information on the accuracy of test kits used. Also, the study was limited to 1 county. Serologic testing in other locations is warranted to track the progress of the epidemic.

 
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  1. Perhaps the antibody tests undercount people exposed to the virus and how close we really are to herd immunity:
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/could-having-a-cold-protect-against-covid-

  2. Anonymous[836] • Disclaimer says:

    Is this good news or bad news?

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
  3. A group of researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, a high-quality institution that’s essentially HK’s version of MIT, has just published a paper on the effectiveness of masking in keeping down COVID-19 spread.

    Their conclusions are common-sensical: if 80-90% of people wear masks, this will not only ‘crush the curve’, but go on to effectively reduce the overall spread of the virus. This is pretty much what has happened in Hong Kong. But only 50% masking does not do much good.

    The researchers stress that introducing masking even quite far down the line (i.e. 50 days) into an outbreak is still effective. It’s around day 75 that the spread will be too far advanced for it to matter much.

    Money quote:

    The data comparison shows a near perfect correlation between early universal masking and successful suppression of daily COVID-19 case growth rates and/or the rates of reduction from peak daily case growth. In contrast, regions that did not implement early adoption of universal masking have instead needed to maintain a strict societal lockdown, with the attendant huge economic and social costs.

    A very readable summary of the paper, along with a short video demonstrating the modelling used, is available here: LINK

    The paper’s abstract and links to the full version are here: LINK

    And you can play with a visualization of the model itself here: LINK

    • Thanks: res
    • Replies: @New Dealer
    , @botazefa
  4. Is there some way to find out how many Americans died in April of 2019? And then to compare that figure to the number of Americans who died in April of 2020? The mere fact I couldn’t instantly find this data, strongly suggests to me the figures aren’t that different. Because if they were, Jeff Bezos’ personal newsletter and Teh Nude Dork Times, would presumably be trumpeting them daily.

    Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. But if so, I think it would be made very easy to confirm. Instead, the data seems oddly elusive.

    Thus far, I’ve managed to find an annual (not broken down by month, that is) figure for 2019 (a rate of 8.782 deaths per thousand residents of the USA…I’m pretty sure this figure does not include the deaths of people who’ve died prior to their 5th birthday).

    https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/death-rate

    …And a chart for 2017, that is broken down by month (2017 seems recent enough to be used as a stand-in for 2019 data).

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6826a5.htm

    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @res
  5. [sarcasm]
    That’s a mere 4 doublings from herd immunity!
    [/sarcasm]

  6. Gimeiyo says:

    IFR is surely heavily affected by whether or not effective measures were taken to protect vulnerable populations like nursing home residents. In New York, Cuomo ordered infected people back into nursing homes and public health authorities ignored nursing home operators when they begged to have infected patients transferred. Thousands died. In California, I think there was a brief window where a similar order was in effect, but my recollection is that the order was quickly rescinded. If that’s the case, I could easily believe California’s IFR is about 50% of New York.

    • Replies: @Travis
  7. J.Ross says:

    These researchers are not a one-trick pony; they cannot be Robert McNamara’d into submission, they recognize when numbers get serious, and they have presented us with a big green pleasure machine. After these patterns, they have diamonds on the soles of their shoes. With congratulations, they will save the reader from becoming the only living boy in New York.

    • LOL: PiltdownMan
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  8. Anonymous[138] • Disclaimer says:

    Hospitals never came close to being overwhelmed in Los Angeles County.

    Gavin Newsom needs to be impeached for fraud. His entire schtick is based on a NYC catastrophe model that absolutely did not replicate out west.

    Newsom is a gigantic crook who is now a cancer on the body politic in CA.

    Not easy to get rid of him because the Reservation Effect has already kicked in due to 25 years of out-migration of freedom loving people from CA.

    Now Newsom’s latest stunt is a blackmail attempt at a fedgov bailout by way of threatening to lay off first responders. This is the crooked democrat playbook from Chicago and New York.

    Amazing how few governors are up for reelection this year! And almost none from psycho blue states. They all think they’re safe. So what’s left besides impeachment?

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  9. If you are very old and/or have a severely compromised immune system, you should take precautions (you should anyway).

    But for everyone else, this remains pretty much a nothingburger. Except for the economic damage inflicted on us.

    And it should give pause to anyone thinking a society run by “experts” would be a good idea.

  10. Their conclusions are common-sensical: if 80-90% of people wear masks, this will not only ‘crush the curve’, but go on to effectively reduce the overall spread of the virus. This is pretty much what has happened in Hong Kong. But only 50% masking does not do much good.

    The CDC’s nonsense on masks–criminal.

    What’s CDC supposed to stand for Center For Disease Control.. Yeah, that’s right “Control” as in stopping the damn thing is supposed to be the goal.

    Here’s what we got from the CDC:
    — zero prep–not ready to spring into action, no stockpiles of essential supplies (like masks), no policy proposals to protect our supply chains of essentials. Nothing.
    — “quarantines don’t work”–every virus has a 35 foot ladder, blah, blah, blah; that’s the advice that went up the chain to politicians
    — a China virus test that … uh … didn’t actually work in anyone else’s lab;
    — … and then not fixing that test for a month; and continued blocking of other labs going ahead with their own tests … “we’re going to have it … any day now”
    — “what we really have to watch out for is bias”, “bias spreads faster than disease”
    — “wash your hands, don’t touch your face”
    “people don’t need masks … they don’t help … except medical workers”
    — what you need to do is “social distancing” … don’t go to work “unless ‘essential’” oh and hey don’t you dare golf, or go to the beach … sunshine kills! (Ok, they didn’t actually say that last bit.)
    — no reasonable guidance on any of the “get your body ready” stuff–vitamin C, D, zinc
    — no coordinated program to build a representative sample and collect data on the extent of the epidemic; (we get dribs and drabs from academics who are out doing their own–but necessarily limited–studies)

    A record of absolute incompetence. But even within it, the lie–nothing but a flat out lie–on masks stands out. How many people severely ill? how many dead? simply because the CDC flat out lied in the most open and egregious fashion on something so obvious as to how to stop the spread of a *respiratory* disease?

    These bureaucrats are from the same class as the goons who give us gems like “nation of immigrants” and “diversity is our greatest strength”. And yes, they rose to the challenge and gave us “disease control” that was up to that standard of nonsense and obscenity.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @botazefa
  11. Travis says:
    @Gimeiyo

    good point. the IFR will depend on how well the nursing homes were protected and the underlying health of those in the area. California has a younger population compared to New York and NJ. The New York Metro area is 18% Black, while California is just 6% Black. California is 40% Mexican, New York and is less than 5% Mexican but 10% Puerto Rican or Dominican.

    Based on the demographic we would expect California to have a lower IFR than New York.

  12. @J.Ross

    they cannot be Robert McNamara’d into submission,

    But can the virus be, perhaps, Maxwell Taylor’d into submission?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  13. Anonymous[138] • Disclaimer says:

    Very dark news from Laura Ingraham show tonight during the Bernie Marcus (Home Depot founder) interview:

    Apparently there is a fb poll that says 30%!!! of small biz will not reopen. I didn’t catch the details of the poll but I know people who think fb is a good barometer of overall sentiment.

    This jibes with Mark Cuban Shark Tank guy saying the small biz bailout plan has failed and we are moving into a new deeper crisis. (Btw Cuban’s solution is insane Big Brotherism)

    Anyway if you’re paying attention you knew it was bad out there because THE GOVERNORS ARE KILLING BUSINESS CONFIDENCE WHILE THE MEDIA IS KILLING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE. Guys like Newsom and that witch up in MI and the control freak in OH etc they are destroying any sense of positive long term economic outlook. No business owner can trust them going to forward to show prudential restraint.

    Trump has awakened somewhat in the past few days after a passive low energy period. But he needs to grok the data and see the massive trap door (economic black hole) that’s forming. He needs to go to war against 1/ the governors 2/ the hospital admins and 3/ the media. He may need to go Lincolnesque.

    We need quarantine of the elderly only. Remove all other restrictions.

    We need reopening of all schools asap.

    We need to marinate the workforce nationwide in preventative HCQ+Zinc. Plus everyone over 50? 40?

    For starters.

    • Agree: Robert Dolan, Sam Patch
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  14. Travis says:

    It looks like the curve was flattened too much in California…They really needs to open up their state to allow more young people to get infected with coronavirus…they should actually be encouraging people under 45 to contract the disease to build herd immunity this summer. Pay college kids to get exposed to the virus, pay them to study the use of Tonic water with zinc as a prophylactic or to determine if the nicotine patch works better than Vitamin D supplements. We could actually learn a lot about transmission while building herd immunity. They could test various masks while walking on a treadmill while being exposed with aerosolized coronavirus…allow bars and clubs to open up for the healthy under 30 crowd and see if any of them need to be hospitalized -ban obese from entering (because they are high risk).

    California needs more young people to get the antibodies now , to protect the elderly in the winter months and prevent another lockdown.

  15. Thirteen percent reported fever with cough, 9% fever with shortness of breath, and 6% loss of smell or taste

    .

    Signs You May be a Hypochondriac – The Center for …

    Hypochondriac symptoms may include:

    ·Regularly checking themselves for any sign of illness

    ·Fearing that anything from a runny nose to a gurgle in their gut is the sign of a serious illness

    Let me get this straight…this virus is so dangerous we have to be obsessed with testing everyone 24/7 because its victims didn’t even notice that they even had it, and a test is the only way for us to know how widespread it is, and therefore how much we are supposed to worry.

  16. Anonymous[111] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve Sailer:

    “As of today, 5+ weeks later, the official CV death count for Los Angeles County is 1,840. So 1,840 deaths divided by 367,000 infections would be an Infection Fatality Rate of 0.5% in L.A. County. However, the lag of almost 40 days since testing means that some of the dead as of today were infected after testing. So 0.50% would represent an upward bound on IFR and the apples to apples comparison to other IFR estimates would be somewhat lower. As of 28 days after testing (a more typical lag), the IFR might have been in the 0.35% to 0.40% range”

    The math is completely off, for two reasons. First, the actual number of reported deaths is much lower than the number of actual deaths. There are a lot of people dying from “complications”of asthma, emphysema, and bronchities who are actually dying of coronavirus. Secondly, the antibody test is very imprcise, and misreads antibodies for SARS-COVID2 as positive when it is actually indicating antibodies for other coronaviruses. There is a margin of error up to 20% in the antibody tests.

    The most accurate figure of overall IFR for the virus is from the Chinese after extensive testing in Wuhan, and indicates an overall IFR of 1.5%.

    • Disagree: botazefa
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Sam Patch
  17. J.Ross says:
    @PiltdownMan

    >diddy
    >WE INVENTED THE LIGHT TACTICAL VEHICLE
    cannot be unseen

  18. So 0.50% would represent an upward bound on IFR and the apples to apples comparison to other IFR estimates would be somewhat lower. As of 28 days after testing (a more typical lag), the IFR might have been in the 0.35% to 0.40% range.

    So, @Steve, are you going to stop holding your breath, leave the closet, and maybe get some fresh air and sunshine on the links?

  19. utu says:

    The Chinese test they used in Santa Clara County had 0.5% false positives probability.

  20. Mike Tre says:
    @Anonymous

    Shoot first, ask questions later.

  21. Anonymous[325] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    A record of absolute incompetence. But even within it, the lie–nothing but a flat out lie–on masks stands out. How many people severely ill? how many dead? simply because the CDC flat out lied in the most open and egregious fashion on something so obvious as to how to stop the spread of a *respiratory* disease?

    It wasn’t a lie. The scientific evidence was mixed as to whether masks protect the wearer.

    We still don’t know the answer to that.

    People who are sick should stay home.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @TomSchmidt
  22. Anonymous[325] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    The most accurate figure of overall IFR for the virus is from the Chinese after extensive testing in Wuhan, and indicates an overall IFR of 1.5%.

    Selection bias. The very sick remained in Wuhan. The relatively healthy skedaddled.

  23. Dan Smith says:

    Perhaps Covid isn’t as contagious as we’ve been led to believe?

    • Agree: botazefa
  24. utu says:
    @Anonymous

    “The scientific evidence was mixed as to whether masks protect the wearer.” – There is plenty of scientific evidence.

    “People who are sick should stay home.” – The problem is that people who do not know they are sick spread virus more when the do not wear masks.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
  25. Sam Patch says:
    @Anonymous

    Are you a bot by any chance?

  26. @Travis

    It looks like the curve was flattened too much in California…They really needs to open up their state to allow more young people to get infected with coronavirus…they should actually be encouraging people under 45 to contract the disease to build herd immunity this summer. Pay college kids to get exposed to the virus, pay them to study the use of Tonic water with zinc as a prophylactic or to determine if the nicotine patch works better than Vitamin D supplements. We could actually learn a lot about transmission while building herd immunity. They could test various masks while walking on a treadmill while being exposed with aerosolized coronavirus…allow bars and clubs to open up for the healthy under 30 crowd and see if any of them need to be hospitalized -ban obese from entering (because they are high risk).

    California needs more young people to get the antibodies now , to protect the elderly in the winter months and prevent another lockdown.

    Travis, good comment. I tend to agree. It would be better to get “the herd” built now during the summer, in carefully controlled experiments designed to keep people as healthy as possible and gather the data to fight this long term.

    I think the over-arching problem here–beyond the Democrat’s “get Trump” agenda–is <i>the vast uncertainty over a vaccine. Are any of them going to work? If so, when?

    It’s the prospect of a vaccine that sort of “keeps hope alive” for suppression. Roughly: “Why get sick now–and maybe have unknown long term issues–when victory is around the corner?” If we squeak through to a vaccine–particularly before full winter–then all the suppression measures suddenly look more intelligent. And they’ll be a big super-sized–we won!–victory party atmosphere. (Oh, to be a young man again.)

    Take a vaccine off the table, then what we are doing now is deeply stupid, and the sort of immunity building experimentation you are suggesting would the rational approach.

    I wouldn’t want to be on treadmill–even with a mask–getting dosed with aerosolized WuFlu. I’d rather do the small dose, see if get sick, try a larger dose, see if get sick. The minimalist approach to immunity. But your ideas have merit too.

    Of course, being rational and having our “public health authorities” actually doing it seem to be only randomly aligned.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    , @Travis
  27. Anonymous[886] • Disclaimer says:

    What if it turns out the high number of asymptomatic people is due to cross-reactivity ans immunity due to another coronavirus antibody in such populations?

  28. @Anonymous

    You can recall a governor in CA. NY has to wait until 2022. Wonder if Cuomo gets re-elected then? If Trump wins 2020, yes. If not, we could be rid of him.

  29. @The Last Real Calvinist

    I understand people’s impatience, indignation, and despair about the lockdown. Policy is focused on lives saved by the measures and ignores eventual lives lost by them.

    End of lockdown with a strong masking policy would be a return to nearly normal. Having to wear a mask so as to reduce contagion of a novel pathogen is not the same as being forced to watch Beria beating your children to death.

    Your freedom to emit a pathogen in droplets from your mouth ends at my face.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  30. @Anonymous

    Here’s a graph based on, you know, actual data from March 31:

    The knowledge was much sooner Than the 31st. Gotta agree with Nassim Taleb on that one. the WHO is criminally incompetent.

  31. @AnotherDad

    Not to mention: get your dose during the summer when Vitamin D is high and the immune system stronger. Getting this in November or December will really be a killer.

    It’s like Measles: kills 1% of infected people in poorer, malnourished countries, and basically nobody in Wealthy, healthy Western Europe. Same virus, differently abled immune systems.

  32. Polynikes says:
    @utu

    There is plenty of scientific evidence.

    Yes. And it is mixed, like the poster said. Here’s the latest from the CDC – https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article

    Mixed results isn’t indicative of anything conclusive. There’s no conclusive scientific basis for saying masks help.

    • Replies: @utu
  33. @Anonymous

    “Guys like Newsom and that witch up in MI … are destroying any sense of positive long term economic outlook”

    I’m thinking this is intentional. The virus is being used as cover to enact a wish-list of authoritarian dreams. Cratering the economy is a tool. The Vampire and the Witch are political functionaries. Boy, that Gretchen up in MI. She’s out and proud about her pact with the demiurge. The daily application of virgin’s blood makes her face shiny.

  34. res says:
    @Servant of Gla'aki

    Your 2017 link included a link to the CDC WONDER page which offers monthly death data from 1999-2018 split out by a variety of variables.
    https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html

    The default variable is census region. Adding months to that gives monthly deaths for each of the four census regions which would be easy enough to put in a spreadsheet and add together.

    You might be interested in this page offering exactly what you want, but only for Michigan.
    https://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/Provisional/MontlyDxCounts.asp

    • Thanks: Servant of Gla'aki
  35. botazefa says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Their conclusions are common-sensical: if 80-90% of people wear masks, this will not only ‘crush the curve’, but go on to effectively reduce the overall spread of the virus

    Where’s the data on masking *only* sick people?

    Masking only the healthy?

    What is ‘common-sensical’ is that masking the healthy is not good advice.

    • Replies: @res
  36. @Travis

    “Pay college kids to get exposed to the virus”

    Don’t offer them money upfront. Undoubtedly, the little jerks have already plastered their souls all over social media. Just remind them that celebrity status and probable reality show offers await as they document their guinea pig experience on Instagram.

    “California needs more young people to get the antibodies now”

    Young adults before lockdown spent most of their time in front of digital screens. Young adults during lockdown are spending most of their time in front of digital screens. This isn’t an adventurous bunch.

  37. botazefa says:
    @AnotherDad

    something so obvious as to how to stop the spread of a *respiratory* disease?

    I get that people have a hard time with this – but respiratory infections aren’t “infections of breathing in.” The mechanism is that someone who is infected expels infected droplets which are touched and placed on mucus membranes.

    If breathing alone was a significant risk then humans would have dies off 50k years ago.

    The initial CDC advice on masks was correct and it remains correct. They caved under political pressure Nd changed the advice, probably thinking “what harm could wearing masks cause?”

    Keep in mind they never suggested citizens wear surgical masks – only non-medical grade face coverings.

    Dope it out.

  38. @TomSchmidt

    Masks are commonsensical. But I hate ’em. Everyday is Halloween now. Maybe I don’t hate ’em.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  39. botazefa says:
    @New Dealer

    Your freedom to emit a pathogen in droplets from your mouth ends at my face

    You’re free to file assault charges if you feel you’ve been wronged.

    You have no right to force me to wear a mask to assuage your irrational fear any more than you have a right to require me to call you ma’am after your sex change operation.

    • Replies: @anon
  40. Travis says:
    @AnotherDad

    yes , i agree. People my age are at higher risk , and I live with my children and wife but I would may be willing to get infected if they paid me $5,000 and gave me HCQ. Since I probably have a 50% risk of catching this virus over the next 12 months anyway, so if they paid me to live in a hotel for 10 days while taking HCQ it might be worth it during the summer when my wife is off (she is a teacher, so will probably get the virus from one of her students next year) Would be good to get the antibodies over the summer to avoid us both getting sick at the same time.

    But my younger self would volunteer to get infected for $900 to test HCQ as a prophylactic. As a college student I often volunteered for drug studies to earn $500 to $3,000 dollars. The longest study I did paid me $3,000 to test an allergy medication for 3 weeks. They took my urine everyday, took blood samples every Saturday. Also participated in an alcohol study , they had me drink vodka until I was intoxicated and then measured my stress levels as they filmed me answering personal embarrassing questions while hooked up to a lie detector. Tax dollars at work, paid me $150 to drink 5 Vodka tonics and then gave me lunch.

    The coronavirus Fatality rate for a healthy 21 year-old is probably 1 in 200,000. But the odds of getting infected after being exposed to the virus may be just 40% for a healthy young person. We have lost men in Military training this year than due to coronavirus, and I did not hesitate to join the Army. the odds of dying in the military during training exercises is greater than 5 in 100,000. Dozens of our military die each year during training. Twenty U.S. Army soldiers died in training accidents over the last year, while another 70 were seriously injured.

    In a report released in 2019 lawmakers on the House Armed Service Committee said that in 2018 four times as many military personnel died in training accidents as were killed in combat. In all, by the committee’s accounting, 80 died as a result of non-combat training-related accidents. And this spring alone, the report added, 25 people were killed in military aviation mishaps.

    • Replies: @res
  41. res says:
    @botazefa

    Where’s the data on masking *only* sick people?

    Good question. I was sick in early-mid March and tried to stay inside for the two weeks following symptom onset. But I wore a mask (but not even an N95 since I had none of those) the few times when I went out. And this was when the CDC was saying masks are useless for anyone but caregivers.

  42. res says:
    @Travis

    Lots of opportunity available with that sort of reasoning. Also consider throwing in a couple months of fairly large value term life insurance for those taking the risk. Having the government fund that insurance would also help prevent any conflicts of interest over what is truly “low risk.”

  43. anon[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @botazefa

    Do you feel strongly against indecent exposure laws? No one seems to have died by looking at private parts. (One can also turn their head away).

  44. @SunBakedSuburb

    Agree. I used to think the Asians wearing them everywhere were ridiculous. Now I know: they knew.

    I’m not a fan of mandatory seat belt laws but I buckle up whenever my trip will exceed 20mph. A few seconds saves quite a lot: the upside optionality is great. Same with indoor masking, which might be completely unnecessary but the lack of big downside for a small downside up front makes it a good bet.

  45. utu says:
    @Polynikes

    Thanks for the link to the CDC paper. However it is pretty much useless. No new research, just meta-study of old mostly flawed studies.

    Obviously a mask is not 100% protective. So if the mask wearer is being repetitively exposed to virus eventually he will get infected in long enough time. But this is not how to look at mask efficacy. What if the mask wearer is surrounded by mask wearers versus when the mask wearer is surround by people w/o masks? Mask wearing is not only about your personals safety. It is about community safety. This might be the reason why so many Americans do not get this concept and keep childishly rebelling against the masks because they only think about themselves.

    Mask wearing is community effort to reduce the reproductive number R0 to the point that the epidemic will stop. It is not that nobody with mask gets infected but it is about that the infectious people infect less people and this is most efficacious when both the infectious people and the uninfected wear masks. When the infectious person infects less than 1 other person on average the epidemic will die out. Is it hard to grasp? It must be for the people who internalized the Prisoner Dilemma scenario in which they always opt for defection because they do not get cooperation and subsequently they always lose.

    The Last Real Calvinist linked this paper:

    Universal Masking is Urgent in the COVID-19 Pandemic: SEIR and Agent Based Models, Empirical Validation, Policy Recommendations
    https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.13553

    “Results show a near perfect correlation between early universal masking and successful suppression of daily case growth rates and/or reduction from peak daily case growth rates, as predicted by our theoretical simulations. ”

    “Our theoretical and empirical results argue for urgent implementation of universal masking. As governments plan how to exit societal lockdowns, it is emerging as a key NPI; a “mouth-and-nose lockdown” is far more sustainable than a “full body lockdown”, on economic, social, and mental health axes. An interactive visualization of the ABM simulation is at this http URL. We recommend immediate mask wearing recommendations, official guidelines for correct use, and awareness campaigns to shift masking mindsets away from pure self-protection, towards aspirational goals of responsibly protecting one’s community.”

  46. @TomSchmidt

    Taleb sort of gets it, but still manages to issue some misleading advice when he suggests you need an N95 mask to take public transport or elevators.

    Without elevators and public transport, day-to-day life in many ‘mask countries’ would be next to impossible. But almost nobody in those places is using N95 masks. They’re just wearing ordinary surgical masks.

    The point is not for one person to wear a mask that screens out enough viruses to keep him individually safe; it’s for enough people to be wearing masks — and thereby keeping their own exhalations and expectorations in check — so that any endemic airborne/droplet-borne disease spreads very slowly, if at all.

    Taleb is supposed to be a genius, but his tweet suggests he didn’t grasp this simple point six weeks ago. Maybe he’s figured it out by now.

    He’s right about the WHO, although it doesn’t take a genius to get that one.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  47. @utu

    . . . a “mouth-and-nose lockdown” is far more sustainable than a “full body lockdown”, on economic, social, and mental health axes.

    This is the conclusion I came to a long time ago — back in the 2003 SARS breakout, actually.

    I hate wearing a mask. Hong Kong’s brutal summer is underway, and will last through September. Even a fairly porous surgical mask is uncomfortable at best in this environment.

    But I’m willing to wear one and put up with the discomfort if it means that I can go out and do at least some of the enjoyable things that, as Steve has rightly identified, make life feel worth living.

    Hong Kong has never been under full lockdown throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurants have had some restrictions, but they have not been forced to close. I’ve not missed any haircuts; salons and barber shops have stayed open. The MTR and buses have kept running throughout, and lots of people have been using them every day. Most people here live in tower blocks, so they’ve been taking elevators regularly.

    And over all this time, with all this close contact, HK has had just over 1,000 cases — with many of them in people who picked them up overseas and then returned to HK already sick — and just four deaths.

    This all strikes me as a pretty simple exercise in pattern recognition. What’s different between HK and NYC or London? Why are there so few cases here, and so many in those cities?

    Masking is the obvious — literally in-your-face — answer.

    Will a second wave engulf HK, meaning all this turns into just an exercise in delay? Maybe.

    But it’s also possible that we’ll be able to transition back into normal life step by step, as is happening now, and that promised second wave never materializes, or is mild enough to remain under control.

    Seems to me it’s worth a try.

    • Thanks: utu, TomSchmidt
  48. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Taleb is supposed to be a genius, but his tweet suggests he didn’t grasp this simple point six weeks ago. Maybe he’s figured it out by now.

    He has:

    If everyone on public transport is wearing a mask, I can also get by without one that’s N95. Given the inability of people in NYC to undertake this setup, I’ll use my N95 ventilator in there. The convexity if getting the infection is also large.

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